Little Trouble in Big D July 20, 2001
Esteemed Dr Max,
It's good to see you are practicing again after so many years. They say "absence makes the heart grow greener on the other side".
I am a long time reader, first time writer. My particular problem is one that seems to bother only others -- I can't seem to notice it. I love clichés and sayings, and use them often. I am strong believer that "practice makes perfection the mother of invention". The issue is that I always jumble them up, very much like El Chapulin Colorado does while making intellectual statements.
If it were up to me, I'd say, "out of sight, out of bounds".
What could be the cause of this? I have heard that "money is the square root of all evil", but can this be my problem? Could it be mere stupidity? Some say "ignorance is marital bliss", but I have been doing this since before my marriage.
I don't want to "air out my spilled beans", but I need your help.
Difficult to Decipher in Dallas
It is quite common to write, speak, and even think in banal clichés and sayings. Though lamentable, for its effect on clear, fresh expression of thought, it is normal, from a clinical standpoint. I only know of only one case where stale turns of phrase have caused any physical harm: a hazing incident at a small Liberal Arts college.
A junior member of the school's Comparative Literature Club was pressured into drinking a shot of alcohol for every cliché or mixed metaphor he heard. He might have been OK had a nearby scholarship-student not innocently tuned a television to ESPN.
Death by peach schnapps -- humiliating.
You, however, combine the cliché-hugging tendencies of the hack writer with the groan-inducing habits of the irascible punster.
Was there possibly a blunt force head-trauma in your past? Perhaps during childhood? While you may scoff that such things only happen in the movies, it is a well-known fact that most mental disorders are caused by whacks to the noggin. In your case, a mighty blow probably mutated a slight tendency toward punsterism into your rather unique condition, which I dub, schizo-cliché-tosisTM.
Garden-variety punsters thrive on groan-inducing wordplay. The underlying cause is, of course, sexual unfulfillment. Big time. The moans and groans they induce with words replace those they can't induce through sex.
Your more acute condition, probably involving grand mal psychosexual seizures, can only be kept in check by fantastic onanistic self-abuses. You've, no doubt, already discovered this.
While the diagnosis for this condition is rooted in cheap cinema, luckily, so is the cure -- another whack on the head.
- Dr. Max
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